dogsetc. wrote:Jonny Trunk on twitter:
Overhead from pensioner in local cafe: "I used to have to go to the circus to see the fat tattooed lady. Now I just walk out me front door."
He should come visit sunny, historic South Philadelphia. Our pensioners (well, we really don't have pensions in America anymore save for the remaining 8% or so in public-sector unions) live cheek-to-jowl with the obese tatted-up crowd. And funnily enough, they all seem to get along.
Fascinating discussion, Bubby and Sir M. The electoral aspects are all different of course, but the Farage / UKIP phenomenon is looking more and more analogous to the dynamics of the Tea Party, which could never remotely govern give its ideology yet is in the most uneasy, co-dependent and ultimately self-destructive alliance with the Republican establishment.
I don't know if the Ron Paul analogy is 100% apt, but it is interesting. Farage is more like a classic Tea Party rabble rouser with statesmanlike pretensions like Ted Cruz or Sarah Palin. Paul ran inside the GOP, too much of a pro-life Texas Christian to be a social Libertarian, and his Libertarian leanings aren't what's really threatening to the underlying neoliberal meta-ideology which serves the "1%" (in Occupy's parlance, the governing class in yours). What's really threatening, like with Farage, is his reactionary populism. It's entirely possible to make a reasoned, dispassionate Libertarian argument for minimalist government which doesn't challenge the underlying financial assumptions. Paul got into conspiracy theories about the inherent evil of floating currency and the FRB which caused the LP to basically disown him.
Likewise, the UKIP's anti-EU pseudo-autarkism is reactionary populism and directly contrary to neoliberal orthodoxy, which supports unitary bureaucracies to underwrite globalization. The point of the spear (as with the Tea Party over here) is immigration policy, and the one place where neoliberal orthodoxy coincides perfectly with sane, humane social policy is on rationalized, open immigration. It might be for the most disgustingly exploitative of real reasons (all those economically insecure arrivistes need cheap nannies), but you can slap a Christian, pro-family gloss on it. Which is what Dubya, to his (only) credit, tried to do.
But immigration is the great lightening rod, the #1 issue for most Tea Partiers as it may well be for the UKIP unwashed masses, the one article of faith that keeps them voting for scumbags who would outsource their jobs, confiscate their unemployment and turn their Social Security and Medicare into a financialized casino that amounts to a benefits program for brokerage houses. Yet it's an issue that cannot ever be fixed, despite support for it in the GOP Senate, because if you fix it, you take it away as a lightening rod to demagogue up votes with.
I'm guessing that this is going to work its dark magic for the UKIP. As long as they can keep howling about immigration and trigger those xenophobic reflexes, they can churn up votes, so they are praying it will never be tampered with, even in the ways they claim to support.